You may be surprised to find out that in the history of
sunglasses, they weren’t always used to protect people’s
eyes from the sun.
Sunglasses date back to ancient China and Rome where it is
reported that Roman emperor Nero enjoyed watching the
gladiator fights through polished gems. And in China,
sunglasses were used in the twelfth century, possibly even
Sunglasses were first made out of lenses that were flat
pieces of smoky quartz. They were not used as prescription
sunglasses to correct vision and they did not block any of
the harmful UV rays, but they did reduce the glare and made
those bright sunny days a little easier on the eyes.
Chinese judges used smoky quartz glasses to hide their eye
expressions in order to interview witnesses.
Sunglasses did not undergo any changes until the eighteenth
century when James Ayscough experimented with tinted lenses
in eyeglasses. He believed that glass colored green or blue
would help to correct eye problems.
Sam Foster introduced the sunglasses to America in 1929
where they underwent more change. They were designed to
protect people’s eyes from the sun and Foster sold them at
local beaches and at Woolworth on the boardwalk in Atlantic
City, New Jersey.
Polarized sunglasses became popular in 1936 when Edwin H.
Land began to use his Polaroid filter when making
Even more Americans began buying sunglasses and they became
very popular among the musician and movie star scene.
The fact that so many famous people began to wear
sunglasses made them -cool- and sales skyrocketed. People
even began wearing them at night and indoors.